Monday, April 02, 2012
By Stephen Mwewa in Mungwi
Mon 02 Apr. 2012, 12:58 CAT
THERE is need to stimulate the growth of renewable energy in Zambia through promoting and financially supporting jatropha farming, says Northern Province deputy permanent secretary Georgina Zulu. Jatropha is a raw material used in the production of bio-products such as diesel and other organic goods.
Addressing jatropha farmers in Mungwi district on Saturday during the Bio-Fuels Association stakeholders strategic planning meeting, Zulu said the government's national energy policy was aimed at promoting renewable energy production in the country.
She said the aim of the policy was simply to promote local production of bio-diesel using jatropha, as a raw material, thereby economically empowering local key players of the industry.
Zulu said the government will fully support and encourage farmers to extensively grow jatropha for the development of the bio-diesel industry in the country.
She said once the local production of bio-diesel was fully operational, it would enable the government to save some money on oil imports for the improvement of other social-economic sectors.
Earlier, Mungwi Bio-Fuel Association chairman Pride Mutale appealed to the government to fund the industry to enable jatropha farmers increase their output.
He said the vision of his association had been to ensure that local production of bio-diesel was achieved by 2016.
Mutale said Mungwi district would be a leading producer of renewable energy by 2016 premised on the fact that many farmers had fully ventured into jatropha cultivation, besides maize and food crops.
He said the initiative of venturing into jatropha farming was introduced in 2008 by a non-governmental organization called Agriterra.
Mutale also said jatropha was also raw material for the production of organic fertilisers and soaps.